Congratulations to the 2024 Francine Bunch Awardees!

On March 22, 2024, the Pennsylvania Head Start Association, named Jaqueline Lapping (Poconos Services for Families and Children) and Gail Bethea (Community Services for Children, Inc.) winners of the Francine Bunch award at the Pennsylvania Head Start Association’s Annual Membership Meeting. Together Jacqueline and Gail have been part of the Head Start community for more than 79 years!

This award is given to a parent and a staff person from an Association member organization displaying the qualities of Francine Bunch. To read more about Francine Bunch and her dedication to Head Start, click here.

Jacqueline Lapping started her Head Start journey as a parent with 3 children, 2 of which were enrolled in Head Start. She got her CDL license and became employed by Head Start as a Bus Driver. She worked her way up to a Parent Involvement Coordinator, and presently as PSFC’s Family Engagement Lead. She takes on many roles in addition to her FE responsibilities, such as overseeing DHS Licensing, is certified to train all staff on First Aid/CPR, and holds a Family Engagement Management License and has successfully guided all Family Advocates to earn their Family Engagement Credential.

Jacqueline's involvement in the community and on the state level, as both a citizen and as a staff member, is exemplary. Her ability to build strong relationships has brought many opportunities for additional services and collaborations; as well as donations of goods for families, staff, and classrooms.

Throughout the years she has had several family members become employees and presently her granddaughter, Madison Cheslock, also a Head Start Alumni, is employed as an Assistant Teacher who just earned her CDA and is enrolled in Northampton Community College, working towards a degree in ECE. She is present with us today carrying on the Head Start legacy.

Gail Bethea is a current Consultant for Community Services for Children's Head Start program mentoring newly hired Lead Teachers. Gail is a retired Lead Teacher from the program and began her career in September of 1979. For almost 45 years, Gail has been instrumental and one of a kind contributing to the successes of the program but furthermore has been influential to so many lives of children and families.

Gail’s Head Start journey began as a Head Start parent. She regularly volunteered in her son’s classroom and shortly thereafter, joined our program as an assistant teacher in 1979. Her natural talent to connect with children and families and to provide meaningful, safe, fun, and engaging learning environments for children was immediately evident.

From a parent, to a volunteer, an assistant teacher, lead teacher, mentor, coach, trainer, and now consultant, Gail held many roles and responsibilities within her program and excelled in all areas and beyond. Gail’s incredible knowledge of Best Practices in Early Childhood, her commitment and care to children and families, her leadership, her positive and successful relationship building, as well as her incredible flexibility over the past 45+ years to meet the needs of children and families in her community, demonstrate the qualities and achievements for the Francine Bunch Memorial Award.

Jacqueline and Gail exemplify that Head Start Works!!